William Redfield (actor)

William Redfield (January 26, 1927 – August 17, 1976) was an American actor and author who appeared in many theatrical, film, radio, and television roles.

William Redfield
Born(1927-01-26)January 26, 1927
New York City, U.S.
DiedAugust 17, 1976(1976-08-17) (aged 49)
New York City, U.S.
OccupationActor and writer
Years active1939–1976
Spouse(s)Betsy Redfield, Lynda Redfield[citation needed]

Early yearsEdit

Born in New York City, Redfield was the son of Henry C. Redfield and the former Mareta A. George. His father was a conductor and arranger of music, and his mother was a chorus girl with the Ziegfeld Follies.[1]

Acting careerEdit

Redfield began acting when he was 9 years old, appearing in the Broadway production Swing Your Lady (1936).[1] He appeared in the original 1938 Broadway production of Our Town. A founding member of New York's Actors Studio,[2] Redfield's additional theatre credits include A Man for All Seasons, Hamlet, You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running, and Dude. He also sang and danced the role of Mercury in Cole Porter's Out of This World.

Other Broadway credits include Excursion (1937), Virginia (1937), Stop-over (1938), Junior Miss, Snafu, U.S.A., Barefoot Boy With Cheek (1947), Montserrat (1949), Misalliance (1953), Double in Hearts (1956), Midgie Purvis (1961), A Minor Adjustment (1967) and The Love Suicide at Schofield Barracks (1972).

His film credits include The Connection, Such Good Friends, Fantastic Voyage, A New Leaf and For Pete's Sake. Redfield's best known film appearance was as Dale Harding in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

On television, Redfield played the title role in the DuMont series Jimmy Hughes, Rookie Cop (1953), and appeared in The Philco Television Playhouse, Lux Video Theatre, The United States Steel Hour, Studio One, As the World Turns, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Naked City, Maude, Rich Man, Poor Man Book II, Bewitched , and The Bob Newhart Show. He is best known as Floyd, the younger brother of Felix Unger (played by Tony Randall), on The Odd Couple.


In his book Letters from an Actor, Redfield published a colorful and personal recollection of his work in the 1964 international stage production of Hamlet, starring Richard Burton and directed by Sir John Gielgud.[citation needed] He also was a columnist for Playfare Magazine and collaborated with Wally Cox on Mr. Peepers, a book about the television character with that name.[1]


During the filming of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Redfield was diagnosed with leukemia, after a doctor on set had noticed symptoms of the disease he was exhibiting. Redfield died at Saint Clare's Hospital[1] on August 17, 1976 at age 49,[3] with the cause of death given as "a respiratory ailment complicated by leukemia."[1] With his wife, he had a son and a daughter.[1]


Year Title Role Notes
1939 Back Door to Heaven Charley Smith
1955 Conquest of Space Roy Cooper
1956 The Proud and Profane Chaplain Lt. (jg) Holmes
1958 I Married a Woman Eddie Benson - Elevator Operator
1961 The Connection Jim Dunn
1964 Hamlet Guildenstern
1964 Pão de Açúcar Gary Wills
1965 Morituri Baldwin
1966 Duel at Diablo Sgt. Ferguson
1966 Fantastic Voyage Captain Bill Owens
1967 All Woman Tod
1971 Pigeons Jonathan's Father
1971 A New Leaf Beckett
1971 Such Good Friends Barney
1972 The Hot Rock Lt. Hoover
1974 For Pete's Sake Fred Robbins
1974 Death Wish Sam Kreutzer
1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Dale Harding
1977 Mr. Billion Leopold Lacy (final film role)

Radio appearancesEdit

Year Program Episode/source
1952 Grand Central Station It Makes a Difference[4]
1955-57 X Minus One Numerous episodes
Dec. 10, 1961 Suspense And So To Sleep My Love
1974-76 CBS Radio Mystery Theater 80 episodes


  1. ^ a b c d e f Permutter, Emanuel (August 18, 1976). "William Redfield Dead at 49; A TV, Stage and Movie Actor". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 29, 2017. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  2. ^ Garfield, David (1980). "Birth of The Actors Studio: 1947-1950". A Player's Place: The Story of the Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-0254-2650-4. Lewis' class included Herbert Berghof, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Mildred Dunnock, Tom Ewell, John Forsythe, Anne Jackson, Sidney Lumet, Kevin McCarthy, Karl Malden, E.G. Marshall, Patricia Neal, William Redfield, Jerome Robbins, Maureen Stapleton, Beatrice Straight, Eli Wallach, and David Wayne.
  3. ^ "Leukemia kills actor Redfield". Eugene Register-Guard. August 18, 1976. p. 6A. Retrieved December 7, 2014.
  4. ^ Kirby, Walter (March 2, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 42. Retrieved May 28, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.

External linksEdit